With more than 250,000 “muy attractive readers”, Zen Habits is one of the most popular blogs in the world. Time Magazine rated it in the Top 25 bogs of 2010 and the Top 50 websites of 2011.
Recently, I noticed that Zen Habits creator and writer, Leo Babauta, no longer has social media sharing buttons at the end of his blog posts. When I asked him about this, he said:
“Yes, I have removed sharing buttons from Zen Habits. I believe people know how to share without my encouragement, if they’d like to do so. Most people would rather read without the distractions of buttons, pop-ups, ads and so forth.”
I appreciate Babauta’s aesthetic. Do you? Indeed, I prefer it to seeing share buttons plastered all over the top or side of a blog post. I also admire Babauta’s willingness to take a stand in this day and age when numbers – “social proof” – seem to impress far more than quality in this wild and wooly blogosphere.
But, I wonder, doesn’t removing social media sharing buttons make it more troublesome for readers to share?
Social Media Share Buttons and Page Loading Time
Maybe there’s a practical side to removing social media share buttons, at least in part.
Around the same time, timethief at One Cool Site Blogging Tips, removed sharing buttons from her blog’s front page excerpts, but left them at the end of her post pages. Having social media sharing buttons on the front page increases page loading time, she noted. She also prefers a less distracted reader atmosphere.
Desperate to Be Shared
On the opposite end of the spectrum are those desperate to have their blog posts shared. In his article Earning Attention, Chris Brogan reports:
“I see more and more people asking for attention. More and more people ask me for retweets and reposts and shares. More and more people ask me to amplify their media. Not their ‘very important’ stuff, not their ‘trying to cure cancer’ stuff. Just their ‘post that I really want people to read’ stuff.”
Brogan goes on to ask:
“Wouldn’t effective marketing be the kind of marketing that doesn’t require you to leg-hump people for shares and retweets?”
Naturally, if you have the popularity of Leo Babauta or Chris Brogan, social media shares are no longer your primary care. But what’s a new blogger to do? Brogan advises:
“If you’re starting out, you need a little more traction. You have to try and find more eyes. Sure, I get that. But do you get them by leg humping and begging, or do you get them by writing really great stuff, by showing up and participating where really great communities exist, by writing really useful guest posts on sites that are brethren to your own material? It’s B, not A.”
It’s humbling to know that it took Chris Brogan 8 years to get his first 100 readers. But this article of his had 732 tweets!
Do you take the time to share a post if there’s no social media sharing button in site? Do you think it’s blogging suicide or sanity to disable social media sharing buttons on your site?
Now, do I dare ask you to share?
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